on the ropes


1. in serious difficulty or close to defeat






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the business is on the ropes

Check Icon Analysis

To be 'on the ropes' means to be in a position where you are close to failing or in danger of doing badly. when you are 'on the ropes' you are close to defeat. This expression comes from boxing when a player is pinned against the ropes by an opponent and is in a weak and vulnerable state and therefore unlikely to win.

Check Icon Social Examples (Advance)

  1. The latest polls show that the government are on the ropes. Unless something changes between now and the election, they will likely be ousted from power.
  2. My court case is on the ropes if I can't find the evidence the prosecutor is looking for.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Advance)

  1. During the trial, I had the defendant on the ropes a few times with my questioning, but he managed to avoid incriminating himself.
  2. The business has been on the ropes since the recession hit, but we won't give up without a fight.

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